The Yale women’s crew team is quickly proving it can dominate its competition — anytime, anywhere.
The Bulldogs destroyed any hope its opponents Syracuse and Cornell might have had this weekend, sweeping all five of the day’s races in convincing fashion to take the Cayuga Cup for the eighth consecutive year.
After a solid performance despite the postponement of March 28’s Connell Cup, the team was faced with another potentially jarring schedule change this past weekend as it prepared for the Cayuga Cup in Longbranch Park, N.Y. The race was originally scheduled for Saturday, but when the team arrived at the boathouse for practice Thursday, rowers were hit with news that the races had been rescheduled for Friday due to Saturday’s poor weather forecast and that the bus for upstate New York was leaving in three hours.
“Though I was concerned for the wellbeing of our rowers with the sudden change of events, the six hour bus ride did little to temper our spirits,” captain Christina Person ’09 said. “With any other band of rowers, the surprise could have diverted us from our plan for racing, but our training precluded any disaster. I attribute this to the character of my teammates.”
The nation’s top-ranked varsity eight boat completed the course in 6:34.5 — a full 10 seconds ahead of second place finisher Cornell and 16 seconds ahead of the Orange. The second varsity boat also turned in a stellar performance, dominating the Big Red’s boat by 16 seconds.
“The second varsity showed audacity this weekend,” Person said. “They went above and beyond the call of duty with their efforts in the race and their actions throughout the weekend; they inspire the team to be better.”
The varsity four boat followed suit, winning its race by 19 seconds. The novice eight boat ran a closer race but showed heart in pulling out a 3-second victory over the Cornell boat. The Yale B and C boats took the top two spots in the second varsity four race.
Rescheduling the races proved to be an excellent decision, coach Will Porter said.
“We decided to move the race up at about 3 p.m. Thursday. We were lucky we could get hotel rooms and a bus — Natalie Gonzalez in the Athletics Department arranged all of it and the athletes were up for it, so it went pretty smooth,” he explained.
The weather and water worked out, too.
“At race time the water was perfect,” Porter said.
With the emphatic win, the Bulldogs seem well on their way to the type of season the rest of the country has come to expect from the squad.
“Each week we make progress, tweaking race plans and growing closer as crews,” Person said. “[But] examining our past success will not necessarily add to our future speed — in this year, we are creating our own tradition for the 2008-’09 season. Thus far we are happy with the outcomes of our races but it will require hard work and determination to continue our progress.”
The Bulldogs will take on Dartmouth and Boston University at the Class of 1985 Cup in Boston, Mass. on Saturday.